And welcome to my stop on the #LolaOffline tour, with a rather beautifully perfumed post. Nicola basically described pretty much the corners of the streets where I grew up and everything in there is absolutely true. Paris with no ParaPharmacy is not Paris…(well, that’s only if you’re not too fussed about all the tourist attractions). So welcome to a shopping paradise for beauty!
You may not be able to win all the delicious products on the post but you will have the opportunity to win a copy of LoLa Offline at the bottom of the post.
Paris for beauty addicts
Some people, when they’re abroad, have to visit all the most famous museums and beautiful sights. I like those things too – but what I really need to see is the local pharmacies. I can lose literally hours admiring mystery face masks, weirdly coloured mascaras and giant shower gels (why, why, why can’t we buy shower gels over 300mls in the UK??)
The best place in the world to do this, as far as I’m concerned, is Paris. The French lead the world in pharmabeauticals (as I like to call it) with a host of famous ranges from Avene (available on the NHS equivalent in France) to La Roche Posay. These are exported of course, but we only get a tiny part of the range. For example, most beauty addicts here will know Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse (‘miracle oil’), but have you tried their Reve de Miel shampoo, which makes you feel like woodland birds have helped you shower and dress? What’s more, they’re much more affordable in France; prices are often the same or less in Euros as they are in pounds.
Happily, Paris is full of pharmacies; you’ll see one on almost every street. In my new book, Lola Offline, the heroine gets lost on her way back from lunch to her Parisian school, as she’s trying to navigate by pharmacies – the trouble us there are way too many of them (plus she’s had two glasses of wine, but that’s another story). Some are limited to medicines, but what you want is a parfumerie with a massive range of beauty products. My favourite pharmacies are listed below, and here are my top 5 products to buy …
Bioderma Hydrabio SPF 30 water, 7.99 euros for 50 mls
When you’ve put on your makeup in the morning, the last thing you want to do is slather sunscreen all over it at lunchtime when you nip out. So this product is genius: a cooling spray with SPF, which you can mist over your face when it’s already made up. Not yet available in the UK, so grab it if you see it.
Roger and Gallet Douche, 4.99 euros
You probably know the old-school Roger and Gallet soaps with their trademark crinkly paper wrapping. Their shower gels are all utterly lovely and non-drying with a distinctive range of scents from Green Tea to Orange Wood.
Homeoplasmine, 5.49 euros
This much hyped ointment lives up to expectations – it’s an all-purpose balm, a bit like Eight Hour Cream, that works miracles on everything from chapped lips to dry patches. The markup is insane: £15.99 for 40g in the UK, but a mere 5 euros in France.
Klorane shampoos, from 7,59 euros
With their all-natural ingredients, this range feels like an affordable luxury. You can get one tailored to almost every hair need, from detangling to strengthening (with quinine, randomly enough.)
Caudalie Fleur de vigne, 29.99 euros
This Beauty Elixir, as it’s known in the UK, is a gorgeous light summer cologne that’s also soothing for your face. Derived from grape products, it makes me feel as if I’m drifting through a vineyard in Provence instead of stepping over old piles of Metro in London. It’s around £32 in the UK – get it for 29.99 euros in Paris.
And where to buy them:
City Pharma, 24 Rue du Four, Paris 75006 (nearest Metro Mabillon)
This Aladdin’s cave is in the middle of one of the loveliest areas on the Left Bank, so a visit is well worth while. Sharpen your elbows and be prepared to fight with Japanese visitors over the last Avene Thermal Water spray. Such is its worldwide fame, the staff here speak 8 languages. Closed on Sunday.
Pharmacie Monge, 74 rue Monge, Paris 75005 (nearest Metro Place Monge)
A bit quieter but equally well stocked, this is more off the beaten track in the student area of Paris. Combine it with a visit to the amazing Natural History Museum with its Noah’s Ark parade of stuffed animals. You can also browse their range online at https://www.pharmacie-monge.fr/ – free delivery all over Europe if you spend more than 50 euros! Open 7 days a week, weekdays til 10pm.
And now for the #Giveaway… you know what to do.